School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkhuntien Campus, Bangkok 10150, Thailand
DNA nanotechnology offers precise geometrical control of the positioning of materials, and it is increasingly also being used in the development of nanomechanical devices. Here we describe the development of a nanomechanical device that allows switching of the position of a single-molecule conjugated polymer. The polymer is functionalized with short single-stranded (ss) DNA strands that extend from the backbone of the polymer and serve as handles. The DNA polymer conjugate can be aligned on DNA origami in three well-defined geometries (straight line, left-turned, and right-turned pattern) by DNA hybridization directed by single-stranded guiding strands and ssDNA tracks extending from the origami surface and polymer handle. We demonstrate switching of a conjugated organic polymer conformation between left- and right-turned conformations of the polymer on DNA origami based on toehold-mediated strand displacement. The switching is observed by atomic force microscopy and by Förster resonance energy transfer between the polymer and two different organic dyes positioned in close proximity to the respective patterns. Using this method, the polymer conformation can be switched six times successively. This controlled nanomechanical switching of conjugated organic polymer conformation demonstrates unique control of the shape of a single polymer molecule, and it may constitute a new component for the development of reconfigurable nanophotonic and nanoelectronic devices.